3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
So, this is an event that occurs after the miraculous coming of the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This was a time of the shift from the old covenant to the new covenant. Jesus has come and ushered in the time of, what is deemed as the Messianic age.
Jesus had changed everything. In Him, through what He did on the cross, He brought hope for the hopeless, release for those in bondage, restoration for the broken. Then He returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit came and He empowered Christ-followers in new and amazing ways.
Now we see that Peter and John are heading up to the temple at the time of prayer. This is an ordinary event that is being depicted here. But it is an ordinary event that has an extraordinary outcome.
On this journey, as we read, there was an encounter between Peter and John and a crippled man. The record of this event has a double perspective that we can relate to. We can relate to Peter and John, look at what happens when Christ-followers are empowered by the Holy Spirit. We can also relate to the crippled man, with the breakthrough and victory in Jesus’ name that he experiences. This latter perspective is what we will focus on as we delve a little deeper into the events of this true story.
I want to point out 3 elements of this situation – Make eye contact – Extravagant Praise – The power of testimony.
1. Make Eye Contact
Peter and John spot this lame man. They notice this man. They noticed this man’s situation. They chose to step in. They call to the man and ask him to respond to them “Look at us!” they say.
Sometimes we find ourselves in terrible, awkward, tricky, painful, restrictive, depressing situations. We are needing God to step in. God does notice you. He does see your situation. And He is calling and asking something of us.
“Look at me!” We are called to turn our attention to our LORD and saviour.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)
To the crippled man’s credit, he turns his attention toward Peter and John. The ESV says that “…he fixed his attention on them…” He might have had ulterior motives for fixing his attention. I am sure that he thought that he was going to get some financial support. He turned and paid attention to the ones that were calling out to him.
We need to make sure that we are turning our attention to God when we are in need. Even if our expectation is different to what he has on offer. We need to turn our eyes to Jesus.
2. Extravagant Praise
Peter and John declare that the miracle is done in the name of Jesus. Which occurs immediately. Their authority is given to them from the one they follow. Jesus is the one that heals the man of his condition. And the lame man responds accordingly.
Look at verses 7 & 8 again. He leaps and he walks and continues going to the temple and continues to leap. While he is going, he is praising God. He is now declaring who it is that has healed him.
This man becomes a walking prophecy. Isaiah in his prophetic writings about the Messianic age pointed to this occurring: Isaiah 35:5-6 (NIV) This man is now the fulfillment of prophecy, but he is also now prophesying about Jesus. He is drawing attention to the power, authority, and reality of Jesus.
It is so easy to receive a miracle and quietly treasure it for ourselves. But there is power in receiving from the LORD and what He is doing, then making sure that all those around you know about it. What better way to share the gospel than to say “Look at what the LORD has done for me.”
3. The Power of Testimony
The interesting thing is that Luke (the author of Acts) records people’s responses. This amazing thing has happened. And people witness the effect on this man.
Verse 9 tells us that people witnessed this man who was a cripple walking around, but they also witnessed him praising God. People would have been familiar with this man. Many of them would have walked past him at the temple gates, possibly even three times a day. Yet now they see this crippled man walking toward the temple by on his own strength. And they were filled with wonder, amazement at what had happened.
No one can argue against your experience. They might challenge it, to justify their life choices. But you know what you experienced. When we say that God made a miracle of our life, nothing can be said to discredit it. And without a doubt, it will challenge people’s views of God.
There is power in sharing our Testimony of God.
Jesus is walking with us saying “Hey! Turn your eyes to me.” And we can choose to turn our eyes to Jesus, or we can choose to stay focused on our circumstances.
However, we need to be intentional in hearing the call of Jesus and responding, by Turning our Eyes, our focus, on Jesus.
When you feel damaged turn your eyes upon Jesus. When you feel hopeless, turn your eyes upon Jesus. When you feel trapped, turn your eyes upon Jesus. When you feel like nothing will ever change, turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Breakthrough and Victory is just a look or focus on Him away.
In faith, hope and love
Steve and Cass Abram